Acta Herpetologica <div> <p><em>Acta Herpetologica</em>, a journal open to academics all over the world, offers itself as a new site for the presentation and discussion of the most recent results in the field of research on Amphibians and Reptiles, both living and extinct. The official journal of the&nbsp;<em>Societas Herpetologica Italica</em>&nbsp;(S.H.I.), Acta Herpetologica publishes original works – extended articles, short notes and book reviews – mostly in English, dealing with the biology and diversity of Amphibians and Reptiles.</p> </div> <p><br><strong>Editor in Chief</strong><br>Marco Mangiacotti, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Italy</p> Firenze University Press en-US Acta Herpetologica 1827-9635 <p>Authors retain the copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a <strong>Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (<a href="">CC-BY-4.0</a>)</strong> that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgment of the work's authorship and initial publication.</p> <p><a href="" rel="license"><img src="" alt="Creative Commons License"></a><br>This work is licensed under a <a href="" rel="license">Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License</a></p> Podarcis siculus latastei (Bedriaga, 1879) of the Western Pontine Islands (Italy) raised to the species rank, and a brief taxonomic overview of Podarcis lizards <p>In recent years, great attention has been paid to many <em>Podarcis</em> species for which the observed intra-specific variability often revealed species complexes still characterized by an unresolved relationship. When compared to other species, <em>P. siculus</em> underwent fewer revisions and the number of species hidden within this taxon may have been, therefore, underestimated. However, recent studies based on genetic and morphological data highlighted a marked differentiation of the populations inhabiting the Western Pontine Archipelago. In the present work we used published genetic data (three mitochondrial and three nuclear gene fragments) from 25 <em>Podarcis</em> species to provide a multilocus phylogeny of the genus in order to understand the degree of differentiation of the Western Pontine populations. In addition, we analyzed new morphometric traits (scale counts) of 151 specimens from the main islands of the Pontine Archipelago. The phylogenetic analysis revealed five principal <em>Podarcis</em> groups with biogeographic consistency. The genetic distinctiveness of the <em>Podarcis</em> populations of the Western Pontine Islands is similar or even more ancient than those observed in numerous other pairs of <em>Podarcis </em>sister species. In the light of these evidences we raise the Western Pontine lizards to specific rank; thus they should be referred to as <em>Podarcis latastei</em>.</p> Gabriele Senczuk Riccardo Castiglia Wolfgang Böhme Copyright (c) 2019 Gabriele Senczuk, Riccardo Castiglia, Wolfgang Böhme 2019-12-27 2019-12-27 14 2 71 80 10.13128/a_h-7744 Substrate type has a limited impact on the sprint performance of a Mediterranean lizard <p>Environmental factors may affect animal performance in diverse ways, even among different populations of a single species. Here, we assess the impact of substrate type on the sprint performance (maximum speed and acceleration) of Schreiber’s fringe-fingered lizard (<em>Acanthodactylus schreiberi</em>). This species is a skillful runner that also bears micro spike-like protruding scales on its toepads (toe fringes), an adaptation for locomotion on sand. We worked with three populations living in habitats that differ in substrate type (sand, soil and rock). We measured sprint performance using a race-track with custom substrate platforms replicating the different substrate types. We formulated two hypotheses: first, we anticipated that the three populations would differ in their sprint performance due to the differences in substrate type; second, we expected that each population would perform better on its home substrate. Our results generally refuted the hypothesis that sprint performance would differ on different substrate types. Our results suggest that there is a restricted effect of substrate type on locomotion and indicate a multifactor interplay among alternative underlying parameters.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span></p> Pantelis Savvides Eleni Georgiou Panayiotis Pafilis Spyros Sfenthourakis Copyright (c) 2019 Pantelis Savvides, Eleni Georgiou, Panayiotis Pafilis, Spyros Sfenthourakis 2019-12-27 2019-12-27 14 2 81 87 10.13128/a_h-7745 Coping with aliens: how a native gecko manages to persist on Mediterranean islands despite the Black rat? <p>How a native gecko manages to coexist with an alien rodent in the Mediterranean since thousands of years? What kind of eco-ethological adaptations or evolutionary adjustments enables this gecko to persist? The present study explores the interaction between the endemic European Leaf-toed gecko (<em>Euleptes europaea</em>) and the alien Black rat (<em>Rattus rattus</em>). In the last 30 years, we compared 26 populations inhabiting “rat” and “rat-free” islands and islets in Tunisia, Sardinia, Corsica and Southern France. Geckos’ populations can persist despite the occurrence of rats. In the presence of rats: 1) geckos’ average body size tends to decrease towards medium-sized individuals; 2) geckos shift their spatial behaviour avoiding to forage “in the open”; 3) geckos’ body condition is not affected by the presence of rats. Moreover, shortly after rats’ eradication, geckos’ population structure seems to change and larger sized geckos prevail while the spatial behaviour is much more conservative. The mechanisms driving the interactions between the two species still need to be explained. Rats could represent a stressor for geckos, compete for space, be pest vectors and even predators. Coexistence of natives and aliens requires adaptive plasticity and evolutionary adjustments. In contexts where the risk of reinvasion is high, eradication programs need to be carefully evaluated, since the arrival of “new rats” on an island could have much more damaging effects on the insular biota than those caused by the eradicated population.</p> Michel-Jean Delaugerre Roberto Sacchi Marta Biaggini Pietro Lo Cascio Ridha Ouni Claudia Corti Copyright (c) 2019 Michel-Jean Delaugerre, Roberto Sacchi, Marta Biaggini, Pietro Lo Cascio, Ridha Ouni, Claudia Corti 2019-12-27 2019-12-27 14 2 89 100 10.13128/a_h-7746 PIT-Tags as a technique for marking fossorial reptiles: insights from a long-term field study of the amphisbaenian Trogonophis wiegmanni <p>Many field studies of ecology or conservation require individual identification of the animals, and for this, several marking techniques have been developed. However, no specific labeling technique has been tested for fossorial reptiles, such as amphisbaenians. We describe the use of Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags as a long-term labeling method of the amphisbaenian <em>Trogonophis wiegmanni. </em>We present the details of the marking procedure and examine the benefits and drawbacks of the technique considering the fossorial environment. After marking many individuals in a long-term field study, we can ensure that the marks were easily applicable and were not lost over a period of at least four years. Moreover, PIT tags did not negatively affect the body condition of amphisbaenians. We conclude that PIT tags are useful for doing field studies of this and similar fossorial species.</p> Pablo Recio Gonzalo Rodríguez-Ruiz Jesús Ortega José Martín Copyright (c) 2019 Pablo Recio, Gonzalo Rodríguez-Ruiz, Jesús Ortega, José Martín 2019-12-27 2019-12-27 14 2 101 107 10.13128/a_h-7747 Occurrence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the Tensift region, with comments on its spreading in Morocco <p>The chytrid fungus <em>Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis</em> (<em>Bd</em>) is a generalist pathogen that affects many amphibian species and is responsible of chytridiomycosis onset, considered as the main causes of species extinctions and populations declines worldwide. The chytrid fungal pathogen has been first described in North Africa in 2011. The present work reported the first survey on <em>Bd</em> prevalence and intensity in the Tensift region of Morocco. The survey has been conducted on 11 different localities by collecting skin swabs and tissue samples of 97 individuals. Using a quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) protocol, low-intensity of <em>Bd</em> infection has been detected in the area of study. In fact, the chytrid fungal pathogen has been identified in 10 individuals distributed in six of the 11 sites investigated, placing the 95% confidence interval for overall prevalence at 5.5-19.6%. The survey confirmed the occurrence of <em>Bd</em> at both high and low altitude localities, on four species out of seven known to inhabit the region and added two additional species (<em>Pelophylax saharicus</em> and <em>Sclerophrys mauritanica</em>) to the list of <em>Bd</em> susceptible amphibians in Morocco. The present records extended <em>Bd</em> distribution more than 400 km in the South of Morocco, indicating that the chytrid fungal pathogen is more widespread in the country than previously thought.</p> Redouane Ait El Cadi El-Mustapha Laghzaoui Angelica Crottini Tahar Slimani Jaime Bosch El Hassan EL Mouden Copyright (c) 2019 Redouane Ait El Cadi, El-Mustapha Laghzaoui, Angelica Crottini, Tahar Slimani, Jaime Bosch, El Hassan EL Mouden 2019-12-27 2019-12-27 14 2 109 115 10.13128/a_h-7748 Ontogenetic and interspecific variation in skull morphology of two closely related species of toad, Bufo bufo and B. spinosus (Anura: Bufonidae) <p>Using micro-CT and 3D landmark-based geometric morphometrics, I investigated postmetamorphic shape variation in the skull of <em>Bufo bufo </em>and <em>Bufo spinosus</em>, two widespread European toad species with small phenotypic differences. Two ontogenetic series were compared, for a total of 58 individuals. They exhibited similar allometric growth patterns, characterised by cranial widening with relative shortening and dorsoventral compression. However, some interspecific shape divergence was observed, particularly among adults: a relatively shorter skull and a more dorsally extended snout distinguished <em>B. spinosus</em> from <em>B. bufo</em>. This disparity, which gives further support to species separation, can probably be ascribed to changes in the allometric trajectories, and seen in light of the evolutionary history of the two lineages.</p> Giovanni Sanna Copyright (c) 2019 Giovanni Sanna 2019-12-27 2019-12-27 14 2 117 122 10.13128/a_h-7749 Hematological parameters of the Bolson tortoise Gopherus flavomarginatus in Mexico <p>We present findings of our preliminary study to determine biometry and blood chemistry values of healthy wild individuals of the critically endangered Bolson tortoises (<em>Gopherus flavomarginatus</em>) in Mexico. Given the absence of previously published data regarding hematology parameters for this species, these results represent an important base for additional research. Hematocrit determination, stains, and cell counts were performed, as well as 18 parameters of blood chemistry. Values of biometry and blood chemistry for <em>G. flavomarginatus</em> were similar to reference values those already reported for <em>G. agassizii</em>, <em>G. polyphemus,</em> and <em>G. berlandieri</em>. These similarities reflect the phylogenetic relationships among these species. However, slight differences may point to particular adaptations that each has developed to their own habitat, and so point to questions to be addressed with future research.</p> Cristina García-De la Peña Roger Iván Rodríguez-Vivas Jorge A. Zegbe-Domínguez Luis Manuel Valenzuela-Núñez César A. Meza Herrera Quetzaly Siller-Rodríguez Verónica Ávila-Rodríguez Copyright (c) 2019 Cristina García-De la Peña, Roger Iván Rodríguez-Vivas, Jorge A. Zegbe-Domínguez, Luis Manuel Valenzuela-Núñez, César A. Meza Herrera, Quetzaly Siller-Rodríguez, Verónica Ávila-Rodríguez 2019-12-27 2019-12-27 14 2 123 128 10.13128/a_h-7750 Visible Implant Alphanumeric (VIA) as a marking method in the lesser snouted treefrog Scinax nasicus <p>In this study we assessed the efficacy of Visible Implant Alphanumeric (VIA) for marking adults and juveniles of the Neotropical treefrog <em>Scinax nasicus</em>. We evaluated the success of this technique in the identification of individuals and the prevalence of tags in the field. As a control, we marked the same individuals through toe-clipping. Of 196 marked individuals, 57 were recaptured in a 7-month study period. Only one mark was unreadable because it was located too deep in the skin. We found one case of tag expulsion and two inverted tags. Almost complete regeneration of the adhesive disk was observed by the fifth month of the study in all recaptured frogs. We suggest VIA tagging method as suitable for <em>S. nasicus</em> over long term studies. Even though, a hybrid method for marking (VIA + toe-clipping) is recommended for species with dark and/or loose skin, or large frogs.</p> Andrea Caballero-Gini Diego Bueno Villafañe Lía Romero Marcela Ferreira Rafaela Laino Karim Musalem Copyright (c) 2019 Andrea Caballero-Gini, Diego Bueno Villafañe, Lía Romero, Marcela Ferreira, Rafaela Laino, Karim Musalem 2019-12-27 2019-12-27 14 2 129 133 10.13128/a_h-7751 Morphological variation of the newly confirmed population of the Javelin sand boa, Eryx jaculus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Serpentes, Erycidae) in Sicily, Italy <p>The presence of the Javelin sand boa in Sicily has recently been confirmed. Here the morphological characters and sexual dimorphism of the Sicilian population of <em>Eryx jaculus </em>are presented. Seven meristic and six metric characters in 96 specimens from Sicily were examined. The results show that tail length, snout-vent length, the distance between nostrils and the number of ventral and subcaudal scales are different between sexes. The characters found in the Sicilian population of the Javelin sand boa resemble those of the African population (ssp. <em>jaculus</em>) rather than the Eurasian population (ssp. <em>turcicus</em>), but biomolecular studies are necessary to understand its taxonomic identity.</p> Francesco P. Faraone Salvatore Russotto Salvatore A. Barra Roberto Chiara Gabriele Giacalone Mario Lo Valvo Copyright (c) 2019 Francesco P. Faraone, Salvatore Russotto, Salvatore A. Barra, Roberto Chiara, Gabriele Giacalone, Mario Lo Valvo 2019-12-27 2019-12-27 14 2 135 139 10.13128/a_h-7752 Variability in the dorsal pattern of the Sardinian grass snake (Natrix natrix cetti) with notes on its ecology <p>The Sardinian grass snake (<em>Natrix natrix cetti</em>) is a Critically Endangered snake endemic to Sardinia (Italy), for which information is still scarce. In the present work, we report information obtained from 36 observations of <em>N. n. cetti</em> performed in different areas of the Island. Three different colorations were mainly observed and darker snakes were in general males and big adults; the only juvenile found showed a complete different dorsal colouration. Snakes were observed active during day-time and often far from the aquatic habitats.</p> Enrico Lunghi Simone Giachello Manuela Mulargia Pier Paolo Dore Roberto Cogoni Claudia Corti Copyright (c) 2019 Enrico Lunghi, Simone Giachello, Manuela Mulargia, Pier Paolo Dore, Roberto Cogoni, Claudia Corti 2019-12-27 2019-12-27 14 2 141 145 10.13128/a_h-7753 Estimating abundance of the Stripeless tree-frog Hyla meridionalis by means of replicated call counts <p>The Stripeless tree-frog <em>Hyla meridionalis</em> reaches its eastern-most European distributional limit in NW Italy, and specifically in the Cinque Terre National Park. Here for two consecutive years, we estimated tree-frog population abundance by call surveys at 24 sites. Data were analysed in the framework of N-mixture open population models based on repeated counts of calling males. The results obtained by this statistical approach were effective in estimating population size together with annual recruitment and survival. The tree-frog male population size remained constant between years and site abundance was inversely related with altitude. On the bases of these findings, our application of N-mixture models to tree-frog calling males was successful and is a promising cost-effective method to obtain long-term monitoring data on this species over large geographic areas.</p> Federico Crovetto Sebastiano Salvidio Andrea Costa Copyright (c) 2019 Federico Crovetto, Sebastiano Salvidio, Andrea Costa 2019-12-27 2019-12-27 14 2 147 151 10.13128/a_h-7754 AT-rich microsatellite loci development for Fejervarya multistriata by Illumina HiSeq sequencing <p>In our study, a total of 2561 sequences that contained microsatellite loci were found potentially to be used for primer design. Furthermore, Illumina HiSeq sequencing technology identified trinucleotide repeats and AT-rich repeats with the the highest proportion in our genomic DNA sequence library of <em>Fejervarya multistriata</em>. Eighteen new microsatellite loci of <em>F. multistriata </em>were isolated and we characterize these loci genotyping 48 individuals sampled from 3 populations in Lishui City, Zhejiang Province, China. Seventeen loci were polymorphic, with the number of alleles ranging from 2 to 11 within each population. The polymorphic information content, observed and expected heterozygosity ranged 0-0.845, 0-1.0 and 0-0.871, respectively. None of the loci was observed in linkage disequilibrium. One locus (FMA294) was deviated from Hardy-Winberg equilibrium in each population separately and combined. These informative microsatellite loci will be applicable for conservation genetic studies of <em>F. multistriata</em> across varying scales from inter-individual to inter-population.</p> Yan-Mei Wang Jing-Yi Chen Guo-Hua Ding Zhi-Hua Lin Copyright (c) 2019 Yan-Mei Wang, Jing-Yi Chen, Guo-Hua Ding, Zhi-Hua Lin 2019-12-27 2019-12-27 14 2 153 158 10.13128/a_h-7755